Parts of Wied Inċita in Attard, previously occupied by a landscape cosortium, will be turned into a public open space within a few months, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Tuesday.

Project Green, the state agency tasked with urban greening projects, is now working to turn land in the area into a place that the broader public could enjoy.

Works there would be completed “within a few months”, he said, and legal reforms meant farmers in the area were shielded from eviction.

The tract of land in question was used for several years by the Environmental Landscapes Consortium, a public-private partnership tasked with landscaping public areas for roughly two decades, as a plant nursery. 

The ELC ceased operations some years ago and the Central Link road project took up some of the land it used in Attard. The rest remained unused.    

Abela was addressing a press conference to mark two years since the Labour government was re-elected, flanked by all his ministers and parliamentary secretaries at the Office of the Prime Minister in Valletta.

He said the Labour government provided economic stability and had done the unthinkable to keep a lid on prices.

“We did what others told us not to do – touch the free market,” he said, alluding to the Stabbilta’ initiative which saw several food retailers agree to cut prices for a number of staple products by 15 per cent.

“Now 500 businesses joined the scheme,” Abela said as he noted that food inflation had dropped by 1.1 percentage points since the scheme was introduced.

“Inflation would have been double had we not taken the steps we did,” he said.

Abela said Eurostat figures showed that last year Malta’s GDP surpassed the mean for the Eurozone, thanks to “record” levels of investment and tourist visits.

The prime minister listed some of the measures introduced by his government to help citizens – from increases in children’s allowances and pensions to financial support for first-time property buyers.

Roberta Abela addressing the news conference on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew MirabelliRoberta Abela addressing the news conference on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

“It is clear that the people are appreciating this and are, rightfully, expecting more,” he said.

Abela said the government was also working to reform labour markets and industrial sectors: it was introducing skills cards for the tourism sector and new rules for rental properties and had started regulating temping agencies, which now have until June to align themselves with the law.

He described work to introduce licencing for construction contractors as evidence of “unprecedented” reform of the sector and said a cabinet subcommittee tasked with coordinating implementation of Sofia inquiry recommendations also had the remit to go beyond that report and made additional recommendations.

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